RESIDENTS of Westbury have been invited to find out more about track renewal work at the town's railway station that will see it closed over the Christmas period.

They are invited to attend a drop-in session tonight (Wednesday, December 5) from 5pm to 7.3pm in the Abraham Suite at Westbury Town Council, The Laverton, Bratton Road.

It will enable to find out more about upcoming work to renew the track at Westbury North Junction to improve safety and reliability. Members of Network Rail’s project team will be available to answer any questions from residents.

Sarah Fraser, project manager for Network Rail, said: “I’d like to thank residents and passengers in advance for their patience as we undertake these essential maintenance and upgrade works.

“With thousands of train journeys made by millions of passengers each year, track needs to be regularly maintained and renewed so that we can continue to run safe, reliable trains for passengers.

“The drop-in session will be a great opportunity for residents to learn more about the works taking place, and we urge anyone who has questions or would like to find out more to come along and speak to the project team.”

Westbury North Junction is an important crossroads for the railway, with tracks radiating out in five different directions. This means that any delays to services on one route can very quickly have a knock-on effect on others.

At present, there is a temporary speed restriction in place at the junction owing to the age of the track, which dates from the 1970s. Track replacement work taking place over the Christmas period will mean that reliability will be improved, as the entire junction will be replaced over 12 days of work, from Sunday, December 23 to the early hours of Friday, January 4.

During this time, engineers will be on site throughout the day and night. Follow up work will take place during Saturday nights in January.

Alongside replacing the track at Westbury North Junction, engineers will also be upgrading the signalling in the area and modifying the platforms at Westbury station to accommodate the new Great Western Railway electric trains.

These new trains have more seats than the high-speed trains they have replaced and are longer. As well as extending the platforms to meet the length of the new trains, this modification will make it easier for passengers to step on and off the train, as the stepping distance between the train and the platform edge will be reduced.

The upgrade work taking place at Westbury over the Christmas period is one of over 330 projects that Network Rail are carrying out nationally during the festive season, with a workforce of 25,000 delivering over £148 million of vital upgrades across the country as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan – the biggest sustained investment in the railway since Victorian times.

Ms Fraser added: "The number of people using the railway over Christmas is considerably fewer than at other times of the year, therefore these essential works have been planned to keep disruption to a minimum. We will be working hard to minimise the impact upon residents whilst these vital upgrades are taking place."

Owing to these works, services via Westbury will be diverted or replaced by buses from Sunday, December 23 to Thursday, January 3 inclusive.

Passengers are advised to check and before travelling.